Books Front Matter

What Is Gen Z Reading?

It’s easy to stereotype Gen Z as young adults glued to phones and tablets. Sure, they’re fluent in the language of emojis and TikTok trends, but beneath the surface lies a vibrant and diverse group of readers, devouring content across genres and formats with an appetite that could rival any bookworm. From sprawling fantasy epics to heart-wrenching YA romances, Gen Z has proved the love of storytelling, in all its forms, is alive and well.

Gen Z’s reading preferences

Forget the image of Gen Z glued to their phones, oblivious to anything else. Studies show they’re actually engaged readers, consuming content across diverse genres and formats like digital natives. While young adult (YA) reigns supreme at 50%, their appetite extends to romance (43%), sci-fi and fantasy (42%), horror (38%), and even superhero stories (34%), exceeding previous generations’ capacities for genre exploration.

Part of this diverse content consumption comes from multimedia accessibility. Gen Z is embracing eBooks, webcomics, and online fiction with open arms, seeking diverse and representative characters they can connect with. Online communities fuel their passion, with book recommendations and discussions thriving in virtual spaces. Younger readers are even reviving libraries not only as meccas for books but for stories in any media format.

ALA reports that “just as [Gen Z readers] flit between multiple media formats, they also jump between modes of access: libraries to bookstores to influencer posts to subscriptions, and back again.” Put simply: Gen Z is hungry for stories.

The role of digital media and platforms

For Gen Z readers, social media is a primary medium for finding and following TBR lists. Platforms like TikTok and #BookTok have become powerful forces, with viral trends and recommendations driving book sales and shaping reading choices. This democratizes access to literature, allowing lesser-known authors and genres to reach wider audiences.

But it’s not just about trends. Digital platforms offer a treasure trove of diverse voices and readily available formats. Self-published authors are finding their audience, while fan fiction communities thrive, blurring the lines between reading and writing. And let’s not forget interactive formats like games and choose-your-own-adventure stories, perfectly catering to Gen Z’s desire for engagement and agency.

Marketing strategies for targeting Gen Z readers

To connect with Gen Z readers, authenticity is key. Speak their language, understand their values, and use relatable visuals for resonance. Micro-influencers on their preferred platforms become trusted voices, guiding them toward undiscovered options. Thinking beyond static marketing, incorporating interactive elements like AR/VR experiences or quizzes, can boost engagement and foster curious minds.

Most importantly, meet Gen Z readers where they are. Engage in conversations on their platforms, respond to their questions, and show them you value their unique perspective. Diversity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a reflection of their reality. This generation isn’t just reading the future — they’re writing it, and they want to see themselves reflected in the pages they turn (or swipe).

Storytelling is alive and well in Gen Z

Gen Z might be the generation with screens in their pockets, but they’re also the one turning pages (virtual and physical) with an insatiable curiosity. They’re challenging stereotypes, demanding diverse voices, and shaping the future of reading in unique and exciting ways. This isn’t the end of books; it’s the beginning of mainstream multimedia storytelling. And Gen Z is ready to read it.

From print to eBooks and eCommerce, Sheridan has your book publishing needs covered. Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation.

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